Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Things did not appear to be heading in the right direction for the Diamondbacks this evening, just a half inning into the game.
Trailing by a score of 4-0, the first victory of the 2014 campaign looked like a far-off possibility. Fast-forward three hours later, and D-Backs fans can celebrate, as 11 days after the season started, the team finally has their first win.
To say that Wade Miley got off to a rocky start would be an accurate interpretation of events. He was nearly out of trouble in the top half of the first when Brandon Belt strolled in with two outs. Needless to say, as Belt circled the bases after a three-run blast to right centerfield, Miley did not seem to be in the game for the long haul.
Although the possibility of a “quality start” was off the table already, it did not mean Miley could not save Manager Kirk Gibson’s already weakened bullpen. Miley went for seven strong innings of work, allowing only two hits and a walk after the first inning. He even went for a stretch of 15 consecutive batters retired to allow his offense time to pry back into the game. With bullpen issues arising only four games into the season, Miley took the ball into his own hands, and thanks to some production with the bats, got a victory on this Tuesday night.
Rather than cowering in opposition of former all-star Matt Cain, the Diamondback offense came right back out in the bottom of the first and threw a punch of their own. Both Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado had RBI hits to cut the deficit in half immediately, allowing the window of opportunity to stay perpetually open for the remainder of the contest.
After jokingly suggesting that Goran Dragic should take over the reins in centerfield for a slumping A.J. Pollock, someone must have relayed the message to him, as Pollock went 3-for-4 and was blistering the ball all over the ballpark. His ground-rule double in the bottom of the sixth tied the game up at four and provided him with his first RBI of the 2014 season.
Shortly after Pollock’s game-tying double, Gerardo Parra brought him home on a sacrifice fly that wound up giving the Diamondbacks the lead for good. The play was a prototypical example of what Major League Baseball has wanted to avoid with collisions at the plate, as the angle of the play closely resembled that of the one that Buster Posey snapped his ankle on in 2011. Intentionally moving out of the way (and NOT blocking the plate), was Posey, who just attempted a slap tag that came in a fraction too late to nab Pollock—ultimately proving the difference in the contest.
With Miley having to exit eventually, he turned the ball over to Will Harris and Addison Reed to protect the lead he had been given. Harris eventually escaped without allowing a run to cross in the eighth, but Reed did not appear to be so lucky in the top of the ninth.
Chris Owings was seemingly camped under the ball and ready to record the second out of the inning when all of a sudden; he wasn’t. Overrunning the ball, it landed back over his head in the field of play, giving Hector Sanchez a standup “double.” Luckily for Reed, he only needed to retire the bottom two hitters in the Giants order, which he did, nailing down the D-Backs first win of the season.
By no means did the game come without tense moments, but the startling low attendance of 18,974 got to see a win. Just one night ago, there was nearly 30,000 more people packed inside Chase Field. Injuries may be crippling some of the roster, but there can still be no excuse for a fan base to desert a team so quickly and jettison them to the deep end.
At the same time tomorrow night, the Giants and D-Backs will get it on once again, as Trevor Cahill makes his first start in the United States this season. Arizona will get a look at San Francisco’s newest hired gun in Tim Hudson, as the two clash at 6:40 PM down at Chase Field.